In Korea, heavy torrential rains that went on for 49 days (and expected to break the 50-day mark) have brought flooding and landslides, which have resulted in 30 deaths and six thousand people evacuated from their homes. Korea’s longest monsoon ever recorded was in 2013, which lasted 49 days. But this year’s one is expected to last longer, setting a new record (South Korea floods, 2020).
Is this year’s record-breaking monsoon a result of climate change?
The Korea Times attributed this year’s record precipitation to climate change. However, the scale of this year’s devastation is another story. The Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) has been criticised recently for its inaccurate weather forecasting. A more accurate forecast would have given people time to prepare and take pre-emptive measures which would have prevented significant loss and damages. KMA responded that the increasingly unusually weather phenomena make it difficult for them to make accurate weather forecast (Minimize flood damages, 2020).
Record setting amount and duration of precipitation this year
The amount of rainfall this year is 3 to 4 time higher than the average precipitation in the last 30 years (South Korea: At Least, 2020). Landslide warnings at its highest level in the region affected (South Korea floods, 2020).
Floodwaters swamped more than 9 thousand hectares, 9, 500 cases of public and private facilities were damaged, and around 100 meters of levee collapsed at the Seomjin River flooding the area and forcing 1,900 people to evacuate (South Korea floods, 2020).
The record-breaking monsoon in Korea and the extent of its damage shows the seriousness of climate change and why we need to build resilience against it. At the same time, the use of accurate weather forecasting and early warning systems can significantly to reduce the scale of loss and damages.
PHOTO CREDIT: Photo grabbed from the video, “S. Korea’s monsoon season longest on record” of the Arirang News YouTube Channel